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Research Reveals the Perfect Humidity Levels to Prevent Illness

May 18, 2020

Keeping your home clean and sanitized is important to promote a healthy environment. Especially right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles residents are more vigilant than ever. Wiping down surfaces with a disinfectant has become second nature. But what about the enormous part of your home that’s invisible: the molecules that make up the air you breathe? Recent research shows that relative humidity plays an important part in a healthy home- and you may find the results surprising.

Indoor Humidity: Where Does It Come From? 

Air is made up of a lot of different gases, like nitrogen and oxygen. But there is also water vapor in the atmosphere. You might recall from science class that water can exist in a solid, liquid, or gas state. Most of the humidity in a home starts out as liquid H2O, which then evaporates. So indoor humidity comes from a lot of places: 

  • Boiling water on the stove
  • Steamy showers or baths
  • Drying clothes on a rack
  • Sweat from indoor workouts
  • Dishwashers running with scalding water or on the drying cycle
  • Coffee pots, tea kettles, and the steam generated from hot beverages
  • Blow-drying wet hair
  • Steaming clothes to get out wrinkles

You can probably think of many other places where water might evaporate into the surrounding air. But here is the important thing to know: you don’t want too much or too little water vapor in your air.

What’s the Ideal Indoor Humidity for an LA Home?

Here in Los Angeles, we are lucky not to have to deal with high humidity too often. You are probably aware of the consequences for having too much moisture in a home. The primary concern for excessive humidity is the growth of mold. For many years, we have known that keeping indoor humidity below 60% can hinder the growth of mildew. 

But research has shown that there is a downside to not having enough water vapor. In a recent study, hospitals with humidity levels under 40% relative humidity (RH) saw a much higher transmission of infectious disease molecules like the flu virus. The numbers increase the lower the humidity gets. Since low humidity levels facilitate the spread of infection, it’s critical that humidity levels don’t get too low. 

Therefore, the ideal indoor relative humidity is anywhere between 45-55% RH. Since humidity levels are relative to the temperature, it’s best to target a range rather than a specific percentage.

Tools for Humidity Control

If you don’t already have a sensor to determine the amount of humidity in your home, that’s an excellent start. Many thermostats come equipped with a humidity sensor. If you have a smart thermostat, you may be able to track humidity over time with a connected app. 

If you find that your home doesn’t have enough humidity to maintain healthy humidity levels, don’t worry. There are plenty of solutions for dry air in your LA house. We recommend installing a whole-home humidifier that will add moisture to your air automatically when it gets to be too dry. 

Stay Healthy with Humidity Control

As research from industry experts shows, humidity levels are crucial to a healthy indoor environment. Contact Brody Pennell to assist with any home humidity and moisture problems you are experiencing. With decades of experience in the Los Angeles area, we can address your concerns quickly and with old-school customer service. Call us at (310) 896-4911.

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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